US, Cuba to normalize relations  The United States and Cuba have agreed to re-establish diplomatic relations and open economic and travel ties, marking a historic shift in U.S. policy toward the communist island after a half-century of enmity dating back to the Cold War, American officials said Wednesday.


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Automakers post big US sales gains in October

DETROIT (AP) - Automakers have been releasing U.S. sales figures for October, and they show a healthy rebound from September.

General Motors says it sold more than 226,000 cars and trucks last month, a gain of nearly 16 percent over last year.

Ford's F-Series pickup trucks led the company to a 14 percent gain. F-Series sales topped 60,000 for the sixth straight month. Ford also saw Fusion sedan sales jump 71 percent over last October.

Chrysler's sales rose 11 percent compared with last year, led by the Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV and the Ram pickup.

Nissan Motor Co. sales rose more than 14, while Toyota posted a sales gain of close to 9 percent.

Of the automakers reporting so far, only Volkswagen posted a decline at 18 percent. VW is up against strong growth from last year, but many of its models have faltered in 2013.

The October sales gains follow a 4 percent drop in September because Labor Day weekend was counted in August figures this year.

Analysts say the 16-day government shutdown in early October did keep buyers out of showrooms, but they returned in the past two weeks.